COMMUNITY groups have been invited to run a new community facility in the pipeline in Stanway.

The building is in the development stages and will be built at the edge of a planned country park.

More than £1 million has been set aside to build it off the Stanway Western Bypass.

The funding has come from contributions from developers.

Colchester Council is encouraging community groups to put in an expression of interest to manage the facility.

It will be a “flexible hall space” suitable for hire by community groups and parking will also be available at the site.

Work is expected to start in March next year and will be completed the following February.

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor responsible for communities, said there would be more freedom in a community group running the building.

He said: “The borough council could look after it but it’s more of a community building and we would rather let the community look after it.

“It means they aren’t under the control of the council so they can improve it and raise funds and do what they want with it.”

Community groups would have to pay for repairs and maintenance, but Mr Lilley said they could apply for grants to help cover costs.

He said: “There is more freedom this way.

“It’s a tough one as they are having to raise their own funds but we aren’t just going to leave them adrift, so to speak.”

He said if no-one has come forward by the end of the consultation the council may have to look at managing the facility.

He said: “This is an exciting opportunity and we’re looking for proposals for this

wonderful new facility that will benefit the local community.”

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The expressions of interest process closes on December 13 at noon.

A spokesperson for Colchester said: “The results of the public consultation exercise in July showed residents were strongly in favour of a community use for the new building.

“We do not wish to dictate how the building should be used but do support it being managed by the community for the community.”